Adolescence is a complicated, exciting, challenging and energizing time in our students’ lives.
As wonderful as it is to see them growing into who they will become, trying to determine how much structure to give versus how much leeway to give is not an easy balance to strike. And the trickiest part is that balance is different for each student. That holds true whether you are parenting them or teaching them.
However, our faculty are experts not only in their academic discipline but also in understanding adolescent development.
They challenge them. They encourage them. And they care deeply about them.
In the upper school, we begin each school year with a different theme that we focus on inside and outside of the classroom. While each year has had a distinct theme, they all share a common trait—they’re about building who our students are on the inside and having them recognize their value beyond the grades on the paper—kindness, courage, the strength to walk their own path, the importance of the effort and not just the product.
Their coursework and how they perform in their classes is important. However, if they don't know how to problem solve, to ask for help, to recognize struggle as normal and develop the skills to push through those moments, then their ability to thrive beyond our walls and outside of our homes will be limited.
Our faculty and staff, in addition to teaching the curriculum, also teach our students how to develop these skills that will benefit them well beyond their time at Norfolk Collegiate.
Anne Claywell is the head of Norfolk Collegiate's upper school, as well as a graduate of the school. She is an expert in young adult education and social-emotional growth. She may be reached at email@example.com.